Graft charges will fall‚ says Zuma's legal team

Former President Jacob Zuma speaks to his advocate Michael Hellens after his case was postponed in the PMB High Court for his 3rd appearance on charges of fraud and corruption on July 27 2018.
Former President Jacob Zuma speaks to his advocate Michael Hellens after his case was postponed in the PMB High Court for his 3rd appearance on charges of fraud and corruption on July 27 2018.
Image: Jackie Clausen/ Pool

Jacob Zuma's new legal team has told Judge Isaac Madondo that the former president will not stand trial for corruption and fraud.

Advocate Michael Hellens‚ who is leading the defence team‚ confidently told the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday that the application for a permanent stay of prosecution had "great potential" to end criminal proceedings against Zuma.

"I give your lordship the assurance that it will be the end of the matter‚" said Hellens.

“There will not be a trial - but that will be the decision of the judge hearing the matter.”

Hellens hinted that the application will rely on the delay in Zuma being charged‚ the irregularities in the matter‚ the former president being spied on during a "Cold War" styled operation and political interference in the investigation from the country's executive.

"I promise the court and my learned friend that the application will be substantial - not just in volume but in weight and content and seriousness for this constitutional democracy‚" he said.

Insisting that the request for more time was not part of any stalling tactic that his legal team had inherited‚ Hellens said Zuma deserved a fair trial and therefore the preparation of the application could not be rushed.

In 2007‚ Zuma's then advocate Kemp J Kemp told the Durban High Court: "We have adopted a ‘Stalingrad’ strategy in response to this prosecution... We will fight [the state] in every street‚ in every house‚ and in every room."

Since then‚ under instruction from Zuma's long-time attorney Michael Hulley‚ the former president’s defence team has tried every possible legal avenue to prevent him from being prosecuted.

Hulley was formally excused from the matter.

The state is currently funding Zuma's legal battle‚ pending a North Gauteng High Court application brought by the DA for the former president to pay his own way.

On Friday‚ Hellens told the court that there were no funding issues with Zuma's new legal team and they were there to stay.

Madondo granted Hellens three months to prepare the application to keep Zuma out of a trial court.

A holding trial date has been set‚ meaning that Zuma will appear in court again on November 30.

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